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Hertha-Sponer-Preis 2018 for SPIN+X-scientist Karin Everschor-Sitte

Award of the “Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft” for research concerning theoretical understanding and directed creation of skyrmions.

photo: private

The vector field of two, two-dimensional magnetic skyrmions. ©: Dr. Karin Everschor-Sitte und Dr. Matthias Sitte

The “Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft” (DPG) awarded the “Hertha-Sponer-Preis” 2018 to the SPIN+X-scientist Dr. Karin Everschor-Sitte of the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz (JGU). The award will be presented at the annual DPG conference in Erlangen in March 2018.

Since November 2016, Everschor-Sitte is leading an Emmy Noether Junior Research Group, TWIST (Topological Whirls In SpinTronics), which is financially supported by the “Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft” (DFG). The group is performing research on new magnetic particles, which are called skyrmions after the physicist Tony Skyrme. Skyrmions are areas of a magnetic structure in which the spins are ordered in a special topological pattern. They can be described as knots or vortices in a magnetic structure. Advantages of the skyrmions are on one hand their very high stability, so a larger amount of energy is necessary to unknot the orientations of the spins. On the other hand, skyrmions react well to so-called spin currents. Applications of skyrmions therefore lie in the field of spintronic, a new form of electronic which uses the spin of electrons instead of their charge to transport information. One objective of the research on skyrmions is to develop smaller and more efficient storage media for computers and other electronic devices.

The research of Everschor-Sitte and her group is path breaking for understanding the interplay between skyrmions, the magnetic structures around them and spin and charge currents. The DPG is furthermore appreciating the innovative approaches of the group to create skyrmions directly and thus make them useful for new technological developments. Since 2002, the “Hertha-Sponer-Preis” is awarded yearly for excellent research in the field of physics to a female researcher. The DPG aims to encourage especially younger female scientists by the public award and hence win more women over for physics.